As we all know the NFL draft was held at Radio City Music Hall, starting on Thursday night. The biggest story of the night was Johnny Manziel, and the possibility of him becoming a Cowboy. I didn’t think it would happen though. Surely the Jaguars, Browns, or Vikings will take him in the top ten. They didn’t though and Manziel began to fall down the draft. I began to get nervous. I’m not sure why, I guess it was because I didn’t want Manziel going to the Cowboys. He’s a rare and exciting prospect and I can see him succeeding in the NFL. Despite this, there are a lot of complexities that comes with Manziel. Ultimately the Cowboys selected Martin, and I was ecstatic. This moment will forever be talked about in Cowboys history. Martin verses Manziel, two very distinctive prospects who contrast each other.
How will history look back on this moment? It’s easy to look back in hindsight when you know the results of the respective players’ career. Unfortunately we aren’t blessed with this knowledge. We don’t know if Manziel will be a star or bust. I think Manziel can succeed in Cleveland, but if he came to Dallas there would be a lot more uncertainty.
First of all, Tony Romo is the quarterback of the Cowboys. Yes he has back surgery, but the franchise is invested him regardless of that. Romo’s contract makes him unmovable for 2014 and 2015. If we try to trade or cut Romo, there will be a huge cap penalty. It would be around a $30 million cap hit for 2014 and around a $10 million dollar cap hit for 2015. What this means is that Manziel would not have started for us until 2016. Even then, the Cowboys would still lose money if they tried to move Romo. In addition, the Cowboys cap future is uncertain. Romo’s contract was made with the purpose of restructuring. With the recent history of the Cowboys cap situation, Romo will most likely restructure again. In 2015, we could still spread out Romo’s base salary over 5 years. This would increase the cap hit of Romo, further complicating the QB controversy.
If Manziel came to Dallas, he would have been on the bench for a couple of years. Aaron Rodgers found success after sitting for two years, but Manziel is a different kind of prospect. If you try to mold Manziel into a prototypical NFL quarterback, I don’t think he’ll find success in the NFL. He’s an unconventional improvising playmaker and there’s no point in benching a player like that. You’re better off throwing him in the fray and letting him improvise. He’s a talented player, but I don’t think he fits well in Dallas.
With the Zack Martin pick, it comes with stability. Martin is a lot safer of a pick than Manziel. Martin brings stability to the offensive line. The Cowboys could’ve gone with Bernadeau and Leary at guard going into 2014. Martin will secure a spot at guard, and will make Leary and Bernadeau compete for the opposite position. This provides depth and competition to the roster. This is also a security move in case Free leaves next year in free agency. Martin is a versatile offensive lineman. With him, Frederick, and Tyron, they can secure the Cowboys offensive line for the next decade. As mentioned earlier, we have a lot of money invested in Romo. We are trying to make the investment work out for as long as we can. By bringing in Martin, we are protecting Romo from hits so he can play longer for us. In addition, when the Cowboys eventually move on from Romo, the next quarterback will have a secure offensive line ahead of him. Not only are we building the team to win now, this move will ultimately help the next era that succeeds Romo.
In the future, I’m sure the decision of passing on Manziel will be a discussion point in Dallas Cowboy history. When discussing history, you need to keep in mind the perspective of the present. Will this decision come back to haunt us? There are a lot of factors that will play a role in answering the question. Though I believe the Cowboys made a statement. The decision between Martin and Manziel shows their faith in Romo. By selecting Martin the Cowboys are declaring that their man is Tony Romo. They’re still building around him, and they are going to do the best to put him in a situation to win.